The best things about being a single parent are also the worst

Single parenting can be a scary prospect, especially if your children are still quite young.

When this new role was thrust upon me, I knew it would be hard work but was confidant I was up for the challenge. What I have been surprised to learn is that the best and worst aspects of single parenting are pretty much the same.

The best

You are not accountable to anyone and vice versa

Living with another adult can be draining when they have different expectations or standards to you. This can often lead to arguments and resentment. For the first three weeks of being single again I didn’t put away clean laundry once. It was so liberating not feeling like someone was judging me for not doing a certain task in what they thought was a timely manner.

Likewise, I’m no longer disappointed that I’m the only person in the house that takes out the bins, one of many previous expectations that often wasn’t met.

You are the centre of your children’s universe

As a single parent you have 100 per cent of your children’s attention when they are with you. You get all the cuddles, all the love and all the best bits of the small humans you created.

You can cook whatever you want

You know how your partner likes meat and three veg a couple of times a week but you are more a stir fry kind of person? You can stir fry your little heart out when you are chief cook and bottle washer. You could even have a meal WITHOUT meat if that’s what takes your fancy (I know, crazy times). Or maybe you have had a hard day, you’re not that hungry and the kids just want scrambled eggs. No problems. Go ahead, eat that tub of Ben and Jerry’s after they go to bed and count that as your dinner. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

You get your evenings to yourself

Once those munchkins are tucked in, I take a looooong hot shower, then fall into my king size bed and spread out like a starfish. I can write, read, talk to friends on the phone or even watch Netflix and chill, in the very literal sense, to my heart’s content.

The worst

You are not accountable to anyone and vice versa

That laundry I didn’t put away? Well I certainly proved a point there, didn’t I? I really showed… myself what a god awful mess three weeks of unfolded laundry makes. Apparently sometimes it’s not a bad thing to have someone else to hold you accountable so you are pushed to do the things you might not necessarily prioritise.

It’s also hard not having someone else to delegate other adult tasks to. I’ve had to take on things that I never had to do before like mow, look after the pool and remember to worm the dogs.

You are the centre of your children’s universe

Yes, you get all the good and ALL the bad.  There is no “go ask your father” or tag teaming the dinner-bath-bed routine. I can no longer duck to the shop for milk just as an excuse to have time in the car alone. Single parenting is bloody relentless.

You can cook whatever you want

Now here you run the risk of falling into the same trap as the unfolded laundry. It’s easy to take the easy road because, well, it’s easy. If you like pasta and your kids like pasta, then eating pasta most nights might sound awesome. But one day you are going to realise that it has been three weeks since you ate a vegetable that didn’t come out of a Dolmio’s jar. That realisation will probably strike you when you are standing at the chemist selecting a family size pack of laxatives or just before you start googling the symptoms of scurvy.

You get your evenings to yourself

That king size bed can get a little lonely sometimes and it would be nice to occasionally “Netflix and chill” the way the cool kids do it these days.

I guess, like everything in life, when it comes to single parenting you have to take the good with the bad, even if they are the same thing!

So, anyone want to watch Netflix and chill?

What do you think are the best and worst things about single parenting?


Written By

Renée Meier is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and single mother to three rambunctious children. She loves living by the sea and drinks copious amounts of coffee. Her lifelong dream is to earn enough money to afford a housekeeper. Renée blogs about all these things at Née Say.


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